Hassan Vows unity, reforms

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The new Somali leader’s immediate duty is to appoint a new prime minister who will have to secure parliamentary approval before naming a Cabinet.

Newly elected Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud officially assumed office on Monday, pledging to foster unity and prioritize economic reforms in the country.

Mohamud who was elected on May 15 lauded his predecessor Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed or Farmajo for the peaceful transfer of power, saying he will engage the outgoing president on some of the pressing issues during his term in office.

“I thank Farmajo for his service to Somalia. I pledge to work only for and in the interest of the Somali people. We will progress and prosper together,” Mohamud said during a brief ceremony held at Villa Somalia in the capital, Mogadishu.

On his part, Farmajo who handed over office urged the citizens to give the new president total support and work with Mohamud in fulfilling constitutional duties.

The new president, who was voted out in 2017 before being re-elected on May 15 pledged to intensify security across the country by shaking up security agencies in the next three months.

The new Somali leader’s immediate duty is to appoint a new prime minister who will have to secure parliamentary approval before naming a Cabinet.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Mohamed Roble suspended Foreign Minister Abdisaid Muse Ali for abuse of power.

Roble said in a statement issued in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, that Ali had authorized a ship carrying illegal charcoal exported from Somalia destined for Oman.

The prime minister who has also nullified the letter from the foreign minister directed relevant government agencies to investigate the incident and report it to the authorities for possible action.

The production and export of charcoal, an economic activity dating to the pre-colonial era, remains banned in Somalia.

The United Nations Security Council in February 2012 ordered an international ban on trade in charcoal from Somalia in an effort to cut off funding for al-Shabaab, a terrorist group.

The US President Joe Biden has approved a plan to redeploy US troops to the eastern African country of Somalia to counter the extremist group al-Shabab, the White House said.

Drawn from forces already deployed in Africa, less than 500 US troops will be repositioned to Somalia to constitute “a small, persistent US military presence” in the country, a senior administration official said on Monday during a briefing with reporters, speaking on the condition of anonymity under ground rules set by the White House.

 The administration’s move reversed former President Donald Trump’s order made in the last days of his administration to pull out all of the nearly 750 US military personnel from Somalia, Xinhua news agency reported.

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  US troops have been serving their duties in the war-torn country on a rotational basis since Biden took office, a dynamic the administration now considers insufficient in addressing terrorist threats posed to Americans in the region.

 “Al-Shabab has taken advantage of Somali instability and fractious politics to become, as I indicated, al-Qaeda’s largest and wealthiest global affiliate,” the official said on the call with reporters.

 “We have seen regrettably, clear evidence of al-Shabab’s intent and capability to target Americans in the region.”

 The official said Trump’s decision to withdraw US troops in Somalia had created “unnecessary and elevated risks” to US troops entering or exiting the country, arguing that the redeployment is “a step that rationalises what was essentially an irrational argument”.

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